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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"


" sermons in stones, books in the running brooks." Hence, too,
his criticism of ordinary school lessons as lacking correlation, and
his insistence that " the essential business of the school is not so
much to communicate a variety and multiplicity of facts as to
give prominence to the ever-living unity that is in all things."*
But though Froebel stresses the fact of interconnection, he stops
short of the pantheism that merges all finite things in God. He
is a pantheist, but the inner unity he constantly strives to find
in education as in life is not a unity got by ignoring the varied
facts of the world, but a unity that reveals itself in them, as the
personality of the artist reveals itself in the products of his art.
For him, God is essentially spirit, and as such must find ex-
pression for Himself in the finite things of His creation. He is not
a mere idea, or a thinker who contemplates His universe in passive
detachment: He is ever active spirit. " Each thought of His is
a work, a deed, a product." THe world is the result of this eternal
creative activity. Nature (the outer) and the human spirit (the
inner) are diverse but related manifestations of Him. Indeed,
God is not rightly known if only known as the principle of unity
and connection. He must also be known in the diversity of
natural phenomena which is the extreme opposite of the oneness
of spirit, and in the individuality of human nature which stands
midway between spirit and nature, and links them together.
For God is not a unity, but a trinity or triunity. And just as God
is triune, and needs to complete Himself by realizing His uni-
versality in the multiplicity of things and in the individuality of
man, so every created thing—stones, plants, animals, man—has
the same threefold nature. Each of them is part of some greater
whole and ultimately of God, and in this way universal. Each
of them has its own unique life as an individual. Each of them
includes within itself some subordinate entities, and so is diverse.^
Out of this idea of triunity conies Froebel's whole view of
education. His conception of the meaning of education follows
directly from his idea of man's nature as an expression of the
divine activity. Man, like all created things, begins incomplete,
but endowed with an activity like his Maker's, that forces him to
strive after completeness. His essential nature is at first a mere
potency, and only attains its proper character with growth. To
this law of development, man is subject just as much as a crystal,

* Education*, of Man, Hailmann's translation, p. 134.